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Fact Sheet – The Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Wildlife Hazard Mitigation Program

For Immediate Release

July 2, 2018
Contact: Marcia Alexander-Adams
Phone: (202) 267-3488


Background
The FAA requires airport sponsors to maintain a safe operating environment, which includes conducting Wildlife Hazard Assessments (WHA) and preparing Wildlife Hazard Management Plans (WHMP), when there has been a significant wildlife strike. The Wildlife Hazard Management Plan identifies the specific actions the airport will take to mitigate the risk of wildlife strikes on or near the airport. The FAA’s wildlife hazard management program has been in place for more than 50 years and focuses on mitigating wildlife hazards through habitat modification, harassment technology, and research.

FAA Wildlife Hazard Mitigation Efforts
The FAA addresses wildlife hazards with aircraft through regulatory guidance, data collection, research, partnerships, and outreach. The FAA has a number of initiatives underway, including:

Wildlife Strike Awareness Posters and Outreach
To encourage and increase wildlife strike reporting in the general aviation (GA) community, the FAA’s Office of Airports began distributing “Report Wildlife Strikes” awareness posters several years ago.  Because of this outreach effort, the FAA has printed and distributed more than 30,000 posters. The FAA has sent posters to general aviation airports, aviation schools, other organizations and associations, and Part 139 certificated airports. The FAA sent approximately 1,500 of the strike posters to the aviation community in March 2018. In addition, the FAA provides funding for education and outreach to the GA community through participation in workshops nationwide. According to new data and the number of strikes reported at GA airports, the outreach and posters have been successful.

Wildlife Hazards at General Aviation Airports
The Office of Airports encourages GA airports to conduct WHAs or Wildlife Hazard Site Visits (WHSVs) and to determine any necessary mitigation measures. The number of GA airports conducting WHAs or WHSVs each year has increased significantly. The FAA will support GA airports by making Airport Improvement Program grants available to conduct an assessment and to implement eligible mitigation techniques based on the assessments or site visits.

Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Reports
The FAA is currently assisting with the development of two new Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) reports to help airports with the mitigation of wildlife hazards. We expect to publish the reports the end of 2018. The latest reports  published include ACRP 11-02/Task 21 Innovative Airport Responses to Threatened / Endangered Species, ACRP Report 125 Balancing Airport Stormwater and Bird Hazard Management and ACRP Report 145 Applying an SMS Approach to Wildlife Hazard Management were published in  2015. They are available from the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies (TRB) at http://www.trb.org/Publications/Publications.aspx. ACRP Synthesis 39 report Airport Wildlife Population Management (2013) and Synthesis 52 report Habitat Management to Deter Wildlife at Airports (2014) are also available at the TRB website. These reports provide additional guidance to augment two earlier ACRP reports, Bird Harassment, Repellent, and Deterrent Techniques for Use on and Near Airports (2011) and Guidebook for Addressing Aircraft/Wildlife Hazards at General Aviation Airports (2010). The reports are available on http://wildlife.faa.gov.

National Wildlife Strike Database
On April 24, 2009, the FAA made its entire bird strike database (http://wildlife.faa.gov) available to the public. The first five years after the database was made available to the public, the FAA received 51,826 civil aircraft strike reports – 9,540 in 2009; 9,927 in 2010; 10,127 in 2011 and 10,917 in 2012, 11,315 in 2013, and 13,691 in 2014. The online database contains 198,961 strike reports between January 1, 1990 and July 31, 2017. The data is complete through July 2017.

The 1990 to 2015 Annual Strike Report, issued in December 2016, is available on http://wildlife.faa.gov along with all of the previous strike reports. We will issue the 1990 to 2016 Annual Strike Report in the fall of 2018 and the 1990 to 2017 Annual Strike Report the end of 2018. Both reports will be available on the website.

Wildlife Hazard Assessments and Wildlife Hazard Management Plans
The FAA has successfully encouraged all Part 139 airports to conduct WHAs followed up with a WHMP.  To date, all Part 139 certificated airports have completed or initiated a WHA.   

FAA Advisory Circulars and CertAlerts
Draft Advisory Circular 150/ 5200- 38–Protocol for the Conduct and Review of Wildlife Hazard Site Visits, Wildlife Hazard Assessments, and Wildlife Hazard Management Plans. This new AC defines the minimum acceptable standard to conduct and prepare for site visits, assessments, and plans. AC 150/5200-38 will also clarify the National Environmental Policy Act process for projects included in an airport’s WHMP. The FAA plans to issue the AC in 2018.

Level of Reporting and Mandatory Reporting
Dr. Richard Dolbeer, a wildlife hazard mitigation expert, conducted a study for the FAA to document trends in strike reporting.  Published in December 2009, he estimated that 39 percent of all wildlife strikes at civil aviation airports from 2004 to 2008 were reported into the National Wildlife Strike Database, an increase from the estimated 20 percent reported from 1990 to 1994. The increased reporting of strikes is due, in part, to wildlife hazard programs that run professionally. These efforts are likely responsible for the concurrent decline in reported strikes with damage within the airport environment (<500 feet above ground level) from 2000 to 2011 in spite of continued increases in populations of many large bird species. A new evaluation of the 2004 to 2008 data revealed that 42 percent and not 39 percent of strikes were reported during that timeframe. Dolbeer conducted a follow-up study to analyze the data reported from 2009 to 2013. The report published in July 2015 shows that the current level of reporting has increased to 47 percent. Although the current level of reporting is statistically valid and sufficient to negate the need for a requirement, the FAA mandated strike reporting for air traffic control personnel through ATO Order JO 7210.632 in January 30, 2012. Furthermore, the quality of the strike data is sufficient to meet all expectations throughout the aviation industry.

The FAA has adequate data to:

  • Determine hazardous species
  • Track national trends in wildlife strikes
  • Provide scientific foundation for wildlife mitigation guidance and policies

Airports have enough data to:

  • Identify and mitigate hazardous species, strike dynamics and wildlife attractants
  • Evaluate effectiveness of wildlife management program

Industry has sufficient data to:

  • Evaluate effectiveness of aircraft components

Wildlife Website
The National Wildlife Strike Database is accessible through the FAA wildlife web site at http://wildlife.faa.gov/. The FAA is continually updating the general resource information on the website, including new policies, guidance, training opportunities and ongoing wildlife hazard mitigation research. In 2019, there will be a redesigned website to provide a more user-friendly experience using advanced data mining capabilities. 

Online Strike Reporting
Online strike reporting got easier with the release of the mobile application software. Now, anyone who needs to report a wildlife strike can do so via the web site or mobile devices using the wireless link http://www.faa.gov/mobile. The FAA also placed a Quick Response (QR) code scanner on the bottom of all the “Report Wildlife Strikes” posters for smart phone users who have the QR application. 

Continuing Wildlife Hazard Efforts 

Avian or Bird Radar Technology
Since 2006, the FAA has worked closely with academia, airport authorities and other federal agencies to assess the performance capabilities of commercially available avian radar systems. The FAA issued Advisory Circular 150/5220-25, Airport Avian Radar Systems in 2010 that provides performance standards that airports can use to procure bird radars. As technological advancements continue to improve avian radar systems, the FAA is working to keep existing avian radar standards and guidance up to date. The FAA continues to conduct research focused on the integration of bird radar into an airport’s operational environment with avian radar deployments at Seattle-Tacoma Airport, Dallas-Fort Worth Airport and Whidbey Island Naval Station. Additional studies are being conducted for development of a new concept for integrating avian radar data into the air traffic control tower. The concept called the Wildlife Surveillance Concept or WiSC will help streamline and improve the flow of pertinent information about active hazardous bird activity through ATC to pilots.  

FAA-Smithsonian Interagency Agreement
The Smithsonian identifies the bird species from remains after a strike. Bird identification helps airfield personnel implement habitat management programs. Identification also provides information so aircraft manufacturers can better design engines and aircraft to withstand the impact of likely bird collisions. The FAA provides financial support to the Smithsonian to identify bird remains from civil aviation bird strikes as a free-of-charge service to any U.S. registered aircraft, regardless of where the strike occurred, and foreign carriers if the strike occurred at a U.S. airport.

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
The FAA and the USDA collaborate on research to make airports safer by reducing the risks of aircraft-wildlife collisions.  

FAA Partnerships and Outreach 

International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
ICAO is the international organization that provides the standardized framework for international air navigation. Countries around the world use the organization’s Airport Systems Manual (ASM). ICAO has asked the FAA to assist with revising ASM, Part 3 Wildlife Control and Reduction. The FAA is reviewing draft chapters within Part 3 and providing feedback to ICAO.

Multi-Agency Memorandum of Agreement (MOA)
The MOA has existed for many years, and provides the framework for several federal agencies to collaborate on ways to reduce wildlife threats to aviation. The agencies include the FAA, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, and the U.S. Air Force. An updated MOA is being coordinated with the existing signatories and two new signatories the National Association of State Aviation Officials and the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. In 2018, there will be an official signing of the updated MOA. 

Bird Strike Committee USA (BSC-USA)
In May 2013, BSC-USA signed a Memorandum of Understanding. The FAA co-sponsors the BSC-USA as part of its continued public outreach and education effort to increase awareness within the aviation community about wildlife hazards. The 2018 annual Bird Strike BSC-USA conference takes place in Baltimore, MD, August 21-23. 

National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO)
The FAA works closely with NASAO on wildlife issues and education for thousands of non-certificated airports across the country. The FAA also collaborated with NASAO on its Wildlife Committee. The FAA signed a joint Memorandum of Understanding with NASAO and the United States Department of Agriculture on September 20, 2013. The goal of this Memorandum of Understanding is to increase strike reporting and awareness at state- regulated airports. The FAA and NASAO continue to work together to provide outreach and guidance to non-certificated airports.

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This page was originally published at: https://www.faa.gov/news/fact_sheets/news_story.cfm?newsId=14393